Do you love classical music? If so, Didcot Concert Orchestra (DCO) might be perfect for you! I met the founders, Geoff and Jackie Bushell, to find out more.
History of Didcot Concert Orchestra
Founded in 2017, its aim is to be a high quality concert giving orchestra in Didcot. Geoff and Jackie each have over 45 years orchestral experience, and have performed in numerous other orchestras. They felt the time was right for an additional orchestra in the town, which would allow audiences to benefit from high quality performances, without needing to travel to Oxford or London.
About Didcot Concert Orchestra
DCO is a project orchestra. Rather than weekly orchestra rehearsals they meet just three times over several days prior to the concert. This makes it attractive to musicians who cannot commit to regular sessions but it does require them to be highly skilled.
In DCO Jackie plays the clarinet and Geoff is the conductor. Geoff also leads on the repertoire and his years of experience means he knows what works with audiences. He chooses concert classics and usually opts for two well known pieces and one lesser known option drawn from his extensive knowledge of romantic-style “hidden gems”, pieces he feels are unjustly neglected in the modern concert hall. In 2019 Geoff won the Didcot Town Council Artistic Award, jointly for his founding of DCO and for conducting over 30 concerts in Didcot.
DCO is an amateur orchestra so players are not paid for their performances. However, to ensure quality, Geoff and Jackie pay for four professional musicians to lead the string sections. The orchestra itself is a community non profit association, subsidised by its founders. There are also four commercial sponsors; do get in touch if you know of any other potential sponsors.
Would you like to play in DCO?
Typically around 50 musicians perform in each concert, drawn from a list of around 350 potential players.
However, with the increase in local housing Geoff and Jackie are sure there are more potential players amongst those moving in. The orchestra performs to a high standard so players are typically music college graduates or of a similar experienced level. If you are interested, please do contact Geoff on 01235 818848 to discuss further.
Even if this isn’t the orchestra for you you’ll be pleased to learn there are other local options, such as the long established Didcot and Wallingford Orchestra. This orchestra meets regularly, on Monday evenings in Didcot’s Northbourne Centre, just for the enjoyment of playing music together without the pressures of concert performances.
And of course, you can come along and listen to DCO at one of their regular concerts.
Where can I hear DCO play?
Didcot Concert Orchestra perform at Cornerstone three times per year, usually at 4pm on a Sunday in February, May/June and October.
The focus is on classics from the late Romantic era. Performances for future concerts include works by Butterworth, Franck, Prokofiev and Dvorak. The full concert listing is available on the Didcot Concert Orchestra website.
Didcot Concert Orchestra are performing at Cornerstone this weekend! The performance is at 4pm this Sunday 8 March and tickets are still available. Pop along to the Cornerstone box office, phone 01235 515144 or go to DCO’s website to purchase tickets. Tickets cost £15 for adults, £13 for concessions, £9 for under 16s.